HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
Thumbelina
Proxima
Aprile
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
On Body and Soul
Unhinged
Eyewitness
Girlfriends
Danger Within
Rent-A-Pal
Battle in Outer Space
H-Man, The
Painted Bird, The
Finding Steve McQueen
Ropes
   
 
Newest Articles
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
   
 
  Deadly Companions, The You Can Leave Your Hat On
Year: 1961
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, Chill Wills, Strother Martin, Will Wright, James O'Hara, Peter O'Crotty, Billy Vaughan
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: An ex-civil war officer known only as Yellowleg (Brian Keith) walks into a bar to find a man hanging by a noose from a rafter and balancing on a barrel - if he loses his balance, he dies. The man is Turk (Chill Wills) and he's in this predicament for cheating at cards, but Yellowleg doesn't want to see him die, not this way at any rate. Threatening the card players, he cuts Turk down, and no sooner than he has, Turk's associate Billy (Steve Cochran) appears and fires off a few rounds. Now the trio have something in common, but Yellowleg knows more than his deadly companions: he has a score to settle...

This film won its place in movie history as being the first to be directed by action favourite Sam Peckinpah, although it was not exactly a typical work from the cult auteur. In many ways it's a road movie, but before the characters set out on their journey screenwriter A.S. Fleischman, adapting his own novel, ensures that the by no means friendly relationships are clearly brought to life, and a story of guilt and revenge is what we are treated to. It's almost quirky, and patently the work of a director showing great promise.

It's Yellowleg (we never find out his real name, that's what the others call him) who is out for revenge, but for now he bluffs that he has joined up with Billy and Turk to participate in a bank robbery at a nearby town. They show up there with the lustful Billy voicing his hope for any available women, and you get the idea that even unavailable women will be of interest to him. They go to the bar but walk in on the beginning of the sermon of the local Parson (future Peckinpah regular Strother Martin). However, one of the ladies there catches their eye.

She is Kit (Maureen O'Hara, about as unfriendly as she ever was), a showgirl with her young son, who the townsfolk believe was born out of wedlock; actually, as we discover, her husband was killed. Alas, her son follows in his father's footsteps when a different group of robbers carry out a raid on the bank and the little boy is shot by a stray bullet. Who fired the gun that did him in? None other than Yellowleg, whose old war wound - a bullet lodged in one shoulder - ruined his aim. It's here the guilt is introduced, as Billy and Turk certainly don't feel any misgivings.

So you see, this is a sombre western right from the start, and there is very little light relief from then on. Kit refuses to have her son buried in the cemetery there after the way she's been treated, and so the journey begins to a far off village with Yellowleg's conscience not allowing him to leave Kit to make the perilous trip through Apache country on her own. The other two tag along, Billy with rape on his mind, and the landscape is bleak and ashen-looking which is appropriate for the mood. After that it's one damn thing after another as Kit reluctantly comes around to letting Yellowleg help her, Billy and Turk show their true colours, and the Indians attack. There's an interesting moral here about the need for revenge and grudges because without them the injured party's life will be empty, but Yellowleg, who never takes his hat off for reasons which become apparent by the end, does gain satisfaction after a fashion. Distinctive music by Marlin Skiles.

[Optimum's Region 2 DVD has no extras, but fans will want to see the film in a nice print with its proper screen ratio intact.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4043 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Sam Peckinpah  (1925 - 1984)

American writer and director, a hard-drinking, producer-hating maverick who was as much reviled as he was admired. After a spell in the armed forces, he moved into television with a succession of westerns, and graduated to film with The Deadly Companions and cult classic Ride the High Country. When he worked on Major Dundee, the problems started, and, as would happen many times subsequently, the film was recut against his wishes.

In 1969, Peckinpah won huge respect for The Wild Bunch, which saw him employ the vivid, bloody violence that would become his trademark. He spent the seventies crafting a series of notable thrillers and westerns, such as the humorous Ballad of Cable Hogue, the reflective Junior Bonner, controversial Straw Dogs, hit Steve McQueen vehicle The Getaway, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, the intense, one-of-a-kind Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, The Killer Elite, WWII story Cross of Iron, and comparitively light hearted Convoy.

Throughout this decade, Peckinpah's reputation amongst studios dropped to such an extent that he could barely find work by the eighties, and his last film, The Osterman Weekend, represented an attempt to reclaim past glories. Sadly, he died shortly after it was completed, while planning to bring an original Stephen King script to the screen. As an actor, he can be seen in friend Don Siegel's Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Monte Hellman's China 9 Liberty 37.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: